The word Tamang comes from the Tibetan for “horse warrior.” Sent by a Tibetan king in 755 to guard the borders of Tibet, Tamangs moved down from the mountains and settled in the surrounding hills. Today they comprise one of Nepal’s largest ethnic groups, comprising roughly 6.5% of the population. The live mostly in the hill districts surrounding Kathmandu and speak a Tibeto-Burman language that has several distinctly unique dialects. Tamangs primarily practice Tibetan Buddhism but are strongly influenced by elements of Bon and pre-Buddhist shamanism. Tamangs will often have Lamas, Bonpos and Shamans and many Tamangs will respect these separate traditions without a perceived contradiction.